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    The mock trial team crowds around their championship trophy. The team consisted of Seniors Paris Brock, Emily Irigoyen and Eric Bazail, juniors Rohit Ramesh, Michelle Zapata, Annabella Lugo and Meghan Lannon, sophomores Anika Dham and Aryan Ranjan and Freshman Coby Ackerman, Carolina Sanchez-Torres and Abigail Canalejo. (Photos submitted by Annabella Lugo)
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    The team celebrates their newly-acclaimed “back-to-back” championship title. “Mock trial is a family. It teaches you how to think on your feet, ask the right questions, and just express yourself as a whole,” Ranjan said.
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    Juniors Annabella Lugo and Michelle Zapata, alongside seniors Emily Irigoyen and Eric Bazail, bask in the glory of the team trophy.

In an Empire state of mind

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The mock trial team’s months of preparation paid off at their most recent competition. After going undefeated in each of the trial rounds, the team won the Empire Mock Trial New York competition for the second year in a row during their trip from Nov. 13-18.

All weekend, competitors from around the globe gathered in the Big Apple to determine who was the best team. Beginning Friday with opening ceremonies, the competition consisted of four trials before the final round. Two were defense trials, and two were prosecution trials. Heritage won every single one.

In addition to winning the championship title, several individuals took home awards of their own. Senior Emily Irigoyen won Best Attorney and ranked third worldwide, Junior Michelle Zapata won the Best Attorney award on both the plaintiff and defense side, while sophomore Anika Dham and freshman Abigail Canalejo both won Best Witness awards.

“As we were waiting for the final results to come out, we were just in awe at what all the hard work over the summer had led us to,” sophomore Aryan Ranjan said. “We put in our absolute best, and I’m glad to say that in the end, we got what we wanted. We knew we deserved it, and that was the greatest feeling of them all.”

When they weren’t busy racking up awards, the team had the opportunity to enjoy the city a bit. From walking Times Square to seeing snow fall to watching Mean Girls on Broadway, the team did what they came to do and then some, all before bed checks at 10:30.

Moments after earning their plethora of awards, the mock trial team stands in front of the entire competition in their championship glory. (Photo submitted by Annabella Lugo)


Joanne is a junior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. Although this is only her second year on the newspaper staff, her passion for journalism is a crucial part of her life. In addition to constantly advertising iPatriot, Joanne is also a member of Quill and Scroll and Key Club and serves as treasurer of the English Honor Society, secretary of the Chinese Honor Society and secretary and historian for the Mu Alpha Theta math team. While she does consider herself quite the math nerd, in her free time she enjoys listening to music or learning how to improve her photography.

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